Reflections of a TVE Intern: Part 1

Reflections of a TVE Intern: Part 1

‘Where are you interning?’

‘A strategic brand consultancy’, I reply.

‘Interesting… Wait, what do you actually do?’

Amongst fellow university students and friends, the answer to this question does not seem to be particularly common knowledge.  Even the helping hand of terms like ‘marketing’, cannot easily convey what a typical day of mine this summer has involved.

But this is fundamental to what has so excited me about interning at The Value Engineers: there is no simple definition of a job here.  No day is the same; no brief the same.  Strategic brand consultancy is a rich and varied thing, shaped by the needs of the client and the skillset of the consultants.  There’s non-stop intellectual stimulation, in a vibrant, collaborative atmosphere.

That combination of creativity and analysis necessary to deliver in such a varied environment is what drew me to the job – and it has been no disappointment.  From a crash-course in Excel, to trawling the internet for the latest news in the world of wine and spirits, to understanding present and future consumer trends in the meat industry, my remit over the last eight weeks has been wide to say the least.

And yet at no point has this been at the expense of detail and depth.  At The Value Engineers, every piece of work has had hours of research poured into it; every picture in a PowerPoint slide is positioned to fit exact proportions.  It is wonderful to be in a place in which every extra minute-worth of detailed work is appreciated.

Over the weeks there have been certain highlights.  For instance, I particularly enjoyed racking my brain (and those of others!) for all possible associations with wine and drinking in British society.  Perhaps it was the Anthropology student in me that took deep satisfaction in the same activity being associated with girls drinking rosé, old ‘stuffy’ men sipping at port, and wealthy men’s cellars filled with what could simply be seen as ‘an investment’.

Moreover, the opportunity to not only be present at, but participate in, client meetings gave me an entirely new level of insight into the work.  As client and consultant interacted, it was gratifying to witness all our background work coming into play, and new ideas being sparked.

It is only now, as I reflect on the past two months, that I realise quite how much I have learnt in such a short period.  Perhaps it is down to the fact that, from the start, no one at The Value Engineers treats you like an outsider, or suggests that you might be unqualified for any task you are given: through doing, I have been allowed to learn.

I am now well versed in the TVE ‘lingo’; I can make an aesthetically pleasing index chart on PowerPoint from puzzling data on Excel; and I can confidently explain what is meant by brand architecture.  Arguably even more importantly, I now truly know that ‘no question is a stupid question’, or else you do not get very far past the start line.

Oh, and that the key to a happy work environment is a fully stocked supply of crumpets.

Julia Warzewski Julia Warzewski